2002

I was raised with the discipline of dance. Leaving dance as an adult left me with a void that was more than physical. After exploring many forms of physical activities, I was introduced to yoga and knew instantly what I was seeking was within this practice. Yoga is a philosophy, a science and an art. It is also a therapy. I began to develop a positive sense a of well-being and a reality that my reaction is the only true armor I have against internal and global crisis.

On September 11th this sense of well-being was deeply shaken and replaced with feelings of chaos. I felt an urgent need for a deeper connection, not just with my inner circle, family and friends, but a more personal connection with purpose and direction in my life. In my new series, I seek to regain harmony not just from a sense of internal balance but an extension of this balance to include the environment within our personal universe. In these paintings, I revisit places and experiences that have brought me joy and peace, and in doing so have regained rhythm in my life.

2001
"Genealogy"

In my current series, I am investigating not only my personal heritage, but my artistic background as well. In both my parents' and grandparents' homes, I was introduced to old world English and French oils as well as etchings and lithographs dating from the 1700's. When I began my personal collection, the oils were stored to make room for contemporary pieces, but the etchings remained. In this art form, I have always found fascination with the strength of the line, the dark to light contrast and even the intrigue of the titles.

Though old world oils no longer hang on my walls, the memory of the color is always with me. Three years ago a friend gave me some pigments she had bought in the French town, Roussillon. The purity of the color seemed to give my work new life.

The following year I visited Roussillon in order to dig pigments of my next body of work. The mounds of reds and ocres rising from the earth, the veins of blues and greens resulting from mineral deposits have forever changed the way I experience color. I was surprised to find myself drawn to the Brogans in the small towns in Provence. There I went through portfolios of etchings, lithographs, and prints looking for inspiration. I'm not certain of the process that led the two to merge, but the result has been both emotionally and academically challenging. I used the existing light source in the etchings and continued it into the painting where black and whites against aged paper give way to the vibrant color of Roussillon. Though collage has always been an important element in my work, by using something of a precious nature, I have felt both a strong connection and a responsibility to those who have preceded me.

The figure has always played an important role in my paintings. In the new series, however, the position of the figure is held by the viewer as he searches his own history. As I feel my work moving more closely to abstraction, it is interesting to me that my tool would be such a realistic art form.

2000
"A Trek Through The Prism"


In my work, the transparencies of paint, varnish and wax help me create layers that signify each individual's personal journey. When I paint, a figure may appear, only to disappear behind a tree or a shadowy back drop of an old building or a classical archway. This interaction continues until I feel I actually experience the balance in existence when man becomes harmonious with his environment.

The complexity of this process captivates me. Joy, sadness and even grief are layers in the human consciousness that contribute to life's experiences, creating openings for deeper knowledge. Connection with the environment allows u to investigate our own continuance and resilience and to gain a deeper appreciation for being.

Felice Sharp

Museums and Galleries
The Rich Painterly Universe of Felice Sharp

by Jane F. Garvey

Figures and trees juxtaposed create the imagery of Felice Sharp's artistic universe. A former dancer and current yoga instructor, The Atlanta-based artist is very aware of physical form, fluid movement, and graceful lines, all of which shape the figurative character of her work.

"The investigation of the figure from all angles is because of my involvement in dance and yoga," she says. Slim and lithe, her own physical presence is dynamic, angular, and vital. Her hands and arms are in constant motion as she describes her work. The figures she draws are suggestive, not detailed, and always strike peaceful poses, perhaps another influence of yoga. None ever is erratic, frantic or unbalanced.

Colors seem at first simple, but on further exploration, they reveal themselves to be complex constructs of texture as well as color. "It's encaustic," she explains, detailing for me how she subjects this mix of wax and pigment to rubbing and scraping. Layers of paint and surface textures yield to her cloth as she moves it vigorously over the surface. The surface quickly acquires a luminous, rich quality, and other colors emerge from beneath the surface as they shed this superficial robe of material. Suddenly, so does another tree. Or another figure. The waxes are themselves transparent, and occasionally she will trace a sharp object through a color to add a line of texture to it.

This built-up paint-and-wax surface obscures layers of colors, revealed as the buffing progresses, and crafting a rich surface that is as fascinating and full of detail as the subject matter. Figures often are paired, as coupling seems an important theme. But, in addition, contemplative and monklike solo figures wander wooded landscapes, their trees devoid of leaves, in a dreamlike world. The strict rigidity of the trees contrasts with the softer flowing lines of the figures, suggesting both discipline and softness. Something about this work seem very Asian.

Trained in art at the University of Tennessee (Knoxville), Felice Sharp is a disciplined artist, who works every day in her studio up on the third level of her townhouse. After yoga comes a day of working on the floor, surrounded by materials, her paint-covered artist's robe and telephone color are testimonials to her labors. Grandson Max, 2, has his own work on the easel today. His bold colors with an abstract figurative element at the canvas's center reflects the fact that he's been watching Grandmother at work. She nearly melts describing how it delights her to watch Max at his artistic labors.

In more recent work, Sharp's figures are becoming increasingly abstract, and architectural elements join the landscape. The figure in these pieces abandons a sylvan world for a more urban one, but the figure still emerges as central to the work while architectural elements lend background support. This is a rich universe, one in which color, figure and geometric forms tussle for the eyes attention.

Small works, measuring 20 x 20 or so, illustrate a similarly rich universe, enhanced by exquisite surface textures. Squares of canvas in a floating mount ripple and buckle under glass, seeming to add movement to a work. Edges, purposefully left a bit uneven and unfinished, add their own textures to the richness.

Unlike a lot of artists, Felice Sharp does not shun commissions. "They're a challenge," she says of commissions. "You know, you can't always have total freedom. You sometimes have to work with limitations."

But within the limitations imposed by the confines of canvas and color, Felice Sharp finds extraordinary and seemingly limitless variation.

 

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